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Mileage Runs - Please Explain  
User currently offlinePITSpeedbird From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 60 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3996 times:

Friends,

I have been an aviation enthusiast all my life - and a fan of this website for a very long time.
Within the past year I saw a segment on one of the major network news shows (I think it was
60 minutes) about mileage runs. This was the first I had ever heard of this practice -
People who take time during the weekends to fly on a chosen airline just to accumulate miles.

I have not seen much about this practice on airliners.net - but am interested in learning more about this;
I have a few questions:

1) How many of you do this?
2) What are the advantages of doing this?
3) Is this cost effective?
4) If you do a mileage run from say, ORD - JFK - do you take time to enjoy the city or just come
right back?
5) How do you choose which flights to "run" on?
6) Are many of you "mileage-runners" business travelers? If so, do you not get enough miles from business travel?
7) Is it fun?
8) Could someone give me a sample itinerary of a mileage run?

I am not preparing to do a bunch of mileage runs, just want to know more about this

Thank you for your help in advance,

PITSpeedbird


you leave. Arrive before
30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3983 times:

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
1) How many of you do this?

I did it once. I was short one segement and flew FNT-DTW to maintain Plat. Elite on NW.

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
2) What are the advantages of doing this?

See above.

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
3) Is this cost effective?

Yes:
http://www.nwa.com/worldperks/elite/benefits.shtml

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
4) If you do a mileage run from say, ORD - JFK - do you take time to enjoy the city or just come
right back?

Not really...this is why it's called a mileage run.

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
5) How do you choose which flights to "run" on?

nwa.com.

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
Are many of you "mileage-runners" business travelers? If so, do you not get enough miles from business travel?

I get my status by segment, not miles.

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
Could someone give me a sample itinerary of a mileage run?

See above


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27000 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3960 times:

Well if you are a member of a FF club and you are short of some miles to get Elite or Gold status then you can easily get to the required tier by doing a few flights.

Elite and Gold benefits out weigh the cost of the mileage runs as you get perks such as ability to cash in miles for J class which would normally cost a fortune . Also extra luggage allowance, entry to the club lounges,upgrades and special offers etc...

For US residents i heard that the LAX-JFK flights with UA that are booked in A class get triple miles and these fares are available on their 767 and 757 operated flights. The 777 has better seats so these fares do not apply .

For European residents LX have every year a promotion during winter where you basically pay Y class and get J class so double miles. Those are the best way to reach status quickly.


User currently offlineNjintern From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3960 times:

check out flyertalk.com

They have a whole forum dedicated to the art of the mileage run.


User currently offlineAvianca707359B From Colombia, joined Oct 2005, 206 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3813 times:

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):

2) What are the advantages of doing this?
3) Is this cost effective?
5) How do you choose which flights to "run" on?
7) Is it fun?
8) Could someone give me a sample itinerary of a mileage run?

I can help you with some of your questions -

2) Say you are short of some miles in order to claim a "grand prize"; Years ago a round-trip first class award on Northwest from New York to Hong Kong required 100,000 miles. I was short about 13,000 miles so I had to accumulate them quickly without spending too much money.

5+8) The goal is to maximize miles earned with minimum expense. At the time, NW had a special promotion: East Coast US to the UK for about $150 round trip, taxes included, in the middle of winter. I bought TWO round trips and used them back to back during ONE WEEKEND:

Friday Evening: LaGuardia NYC - Boston - Glasgow UK (arrive early Sat morning)
Saturday Morning: Glasgow - Boston (arrive Sat afternoon)
Saturday Evening: Boston - London Gatwick UK (arrive early Sun morning)
Sunday Morning: Gatwick - Boston - LaGuardia (arrive Sun afternoon)

3) Total Cost: Approx. $300. Earned more than 13,000 base miles and exchanged them for a first class award worth about $9,000, as well as putting me in Elite status, benefitting my future domestic travel on NW. Very cost-effective.

7) "Fun" is very subjective. Four trips across the Atlantic in empty DC-10's? Yes, it was fun! Four trips across the Atlantic in coach in one weekend during two turbulence-filled days and nights and then trying to explain to immigration authorities in the UK why I was doing this? No, not fun at all!

Of course this was pre-9/11 and before there was a big problem with nested and back-to-back tickets, but you get the idea.

P.S. Yes, the in-flight movies were repeated and they sucked. Yes, the meals were the same on all 4 crossings. Yes, I did sleep a lot. Yes, I only had a carry-on bag with one change of clothes and a toothbrush. Yes, the first-class trip to Hong Kong was fabulous. Yes, I eventually did receive psychiatric counselling.



In Memory of HK-1402 "Sucre" & HK-1410 "Bolivar"
User currently offlineBuyantUkhaa From Mongolia, joined May 2004, 2899 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3760 times:

Quoting Avianca707359B (Reply 4):
P.S. Yes, the in-flight movies were repeated and they sucked. Yes, the meals were the same on all 4 crossings. Yes, I did sleep a lot. Yes, I only had a carry-on bag with one change of clothes and a toothbrush. Yes, the first-class trip to Hong Kong was fabulous. Yes, I eventually did receive psychiatric counselling.

Great story! I must admit I also wasn't too familiar with the finer details of mileage runs - but it all makes sense now. Hope you have recovered  Wink



I scratch my head, therefore I am.
User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3758 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I have done it before on NW and it was cost effective for me. I needed just under 1000 more miles for a free domestic ticket. Where I was going was going to be around $500, if I were to purchase it. I bought a round trip DTW-ORD for $125 and got my miles I needed. NW gives 500 miles minimum each way so I got a 1000 miles and saved a few bucks. Plus I visited some buddies from college and got drunk.

If you only need a few miles to get awards or maintain FF status a cheap flight to STL, ORD, or DCA, from DTW is just the trick. I would chose those places because I have friends or family there and I can stay the weekend and hangout.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31003 posts, RR: 86
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3728 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):

1) How many of you do this?

I used to.

Quote:
2) What are the advantages of doing this?

Once you have status with an airline, it makes mileage running easier and more comfortable since you can get preferred seating (Exit Rows) or upgrade to Business or First Class and access elite security and check-in lines, plus early boarding and such.

Quote:
3) Is this cost effective?

It used to be, but now with fuel surcharges and airlines successfully finding fare hikes sticking more often then not, it is not so much now unless you get creative. I now find it cheaper to buy a discounted First or Business Class ticket for the handful of flights I need to take then take dozens of MRs to earn the miles/certificates.

Quote:
4) If you do a mileage run from say, ORD - JFK - do you take time to enjoy the city or just come
right back?

I used to visit the city, so it was kind of an MR/vacation. But once I'd seen the city, it just became a slog back and forth between two points.

Quote:
5) How do you choose which flights to "run" on?

Where possible, I chose by equipment (for comfort). Also it was driven by how many segments I could get - so I'd fly SEA-LAX-IAD instead of SEA-IAD because I earned over 1000 extra miles and an extra segment.

Quote:
7) Is it fun?

It was kind of, at first, especially since I'd get to see the city. But later on, it was just a 36 hour slog (since I'd overnight via eastbound transcon with an immediate return) which played hell with my body.

Quote:
8) Could someone give me a sample itinerary of a mileage run?

All of mine were on UA. I used to do a lot of overnight transcons to DCA (IAD or BWI) from SEA via LAX or SFO. Or I would do SEA-SFO-ORD-SFO on Saturday and then do SFO-ORD-SFO-SEA on Sunday, overnighting in SFO.


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8902 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3695 times:

I've done a lot on Delta. Fly out of the East Coast by 7 a.m., arrive on the West Coast by noon. There's just enough time to grab lunch (normally, if I'm going to SFO, LAX, ONT, I'll schedule for 2-3 hours to run out to In-N-Out for lunch, although I've done this in 90 minutes before) and catch the 1-2 p.m. flights that connect to the last bank of flights to the East Coast. Occasionally, if it's a place like Vegas, I'll consider a red-eye back so I can go out to the casinos for a few hours; I've also gone up to Anaheim for an Angels game when I've done a SNA mileage run.

A great tool that I use is http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ - I can choose one city, hit search within 300 miles, and it'll pop up the cheapest fare.

As for is it worth it, heck yes - I have an upgrade percentage as a Silver of around 75% (about 20 flights a year in F), the Medallion phone number is eons superior than talking to someone in a foreign call center, the discount on the Crown Room is nice, preboarding is very important when you try to only carry-on, so I can put my bags right above my seat, preferred seating in coach is great as I can pre-reserve the exit rows. I can't imagine going back to a life travelling without elite status - everything is so much smoother.


User currently offlineDiscoverCSG From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 832 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3555 times:

As others have mentioned, it's a way to earn miles cheaply, though economic reasons for doing this only make sense if you redeem, as Avianca did, for a premium international ticket, and if you already earn lots of miles through business travel, credit cards, etc. So, by taking a couple of $200 mileage runs on top of your regular mileage earning, you might be able to take a 12-hour flight in J rather than in Y, which might otherwise cost you over $5000.

I did a MR in January as a CO frequent flier. They had a good fare (I forget exactly what it was) from ATL-ANC with no minimum. So, without stopping for more than four hours at a time, I flew:

ATL-EWR on CO
EWR-SEA on CO
SEA-ANC on AS
ANC-SEA-IAH on CO
IAH-ATL on DL

and earned a boatload of miles (elite bonuses helo, of course, and I didn't get any upgrades). Yes, it cost me a night's sleep on the ANC-SEA-IAH, but it was fun - flying can be relaxing, I watched some movies, sampled fast food offering from different regions, and so forth.


User currently offlineDiscoverCSG From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 832 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3537 times:

Also, I forgot to mention some of my other MR activities...

As a CO elite, I've done two round trips EWR-SJU. They had ultra-low fares to compete with B6 on this route. This was awesome - I would leave on the 9:55 p.m. (or whatever) Friday night flight from EWR to SJU, arriving after midnight. After an hour or two, the same plane would bring me back to EWR by 8:00 a.m. Saturday. It was awesome - upgraded to F every time, full dinner with lots of wine, then an F seat in which to doze on the way home. Also, no ruch hour traffic, no missed work. It was great!


User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 42
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3524 times:

I did TG Gold on mileage runs only.

Total cost about EUR 2000.

Benefits

1 free F class BKK-SYD-BKK
1 round trip upgrade BKK-FRA-BKK
2 years worth of Star Alliance lounges

A steal.



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineUAL4ever From Israel, joined Aug 2005, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3263 times:

I did a mileage run this year. UA was running a special promotion where if you flew 3 roundtrips within a certain time period you could earn 25,000 bonus miles. The way it worked was 5,000 for the 1st roundtrip, 10,000 for the 2nd and 15,000 for the third. I had already made 2 regularly scheduled trips during the time period and wanted the bonus miles. I looked on united.com and found out which flights were the shortest distance from ORD and based on the schedule how quickly I could get back to ORD. I also wanted to spend the least amount of money possible. In the end for $78 roundtrip I was able to fly ORD-MKE-ORD. I left ORD at 8AM, arrived at MKE 8:46 AM, walked off the plane, and then immediately reboarded for the 9:14 AM flight back to ORD. My flight landed at 9:45 and I was back home by 10:30. It was definitely worth it as I will have enough miles at the end of the year but this added over 17,000 miles to my account as each segment was 500 miles and I get the 100% mileage bonus as a Premier Executive. Also, I am always looking for deals that are so good that if I don;t have any conflicts I will fly just for the miles.

User currently offlineHjulicher From Liechtenstein, joined Feb 2005, 879 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3222 times:

I've done in twice last year, because i failed the first time... My itinerary was DTW-CLE-MCO-IAH-DTW all in one day. I actually did spend some time outside in Orlando, and was able to repair my watch (Swatch) at the airport, so the day wasn't lost, and it was the day before an exam that i had. Anyways, I paid around $130 dollars and flew for like 12 hours. I got upgraded on the last segment, and was fed on Continental. However, because I booked on the lowest fare economy ticket, I didn't get 100% of the milleage accrual because I'm a NW elite member. So after it was all done and over, I didn't get enough miles for the upgrade (I believe I needed like 3000). So I booked another flight two days later. I spent $116 dollars to fly DTW-RSW on NW. I was upgraded to 1st both times. However, I spent the day at the beach, and even went in the water a little. It was interesting, because this was back in December, and when I had arrived at RSW, the gate agent said that they get a lot of mileage runners. I was a little bit surprised at that. She offered to get me back on the next flight, but I said I wanted to go out, so I did. Might I recommend that you fly to a destination that has some decent public transportation, as the bus I had to take was like 1hr long to travel 10 miles and Taxis charged a flat rate of $50 dollars. Thus, making my time at the beach limited. In the end I got what I wanted, the upgrade. I believe it is worth it, because I fly a lot, and always give the miles to my parents. They fly to Russia every year on the miles that i have accumulated. A savings (this summer) of around 1400 dollars. Also, I get to choose premium seats at booking, and I can check in and board the plane faster, not to mention the added mileage bonus for all flights.

I spent about $250 dollars and got like 5000 miles and a day at the beach. you can't beat that.



LH 442
User currently offlineKmh1956 From Bermuda, joined Jun 2005, 3324 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3106 times:

Completely impractical out of BDA. Air fares are outrageous, and much as I'd love to do a mileage run or two occasionally..not worth it. Costs too much, and the mileage accumulated doesn't add up to diddly.


'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
User currently offlineGeorgiaAME From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 980 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 2 weeks ago) and read 3009 times:

Quoting Avianca707359B (Reply 4):
Yes, I eventually did receive psychiatric counselling.

2001. Quick trip to AMS over the weekend my wife was with her parents in Florida. Got me into Platinum status with Delta, but unfortunately, my wife returned home early with the kids, so it also got me into some marriage counselling. Wives/women just don't understand these things. (The only benefit I saw advancing from Gold Medallion was access to the European lounges in 2002; mileage bonus was the same, boarding was the same, upgrades were the same, although I don't travel as frequently as a true business traveller would.)

With my current travel plans, I will be 1600 miles short of Skyteam Gold status as of 7/10/07. So there is a "mileage run" in my immediate future. The question is where to, and when. Summer prices are absurd, there is a great art exhibit in London in November that I want to go to, but I want my 100% mileage bonus for that trip. So I'm planning. It might mean 2 quickies to Savannah, if DL matches AT sale fares, buying me 500mi in each direction. Any thoughts?



"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8902 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2972 times:

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 15):

With my current travel plans, I will be 1600 miles short of Skyteam Gold status as of 7/10/07. So there is a "mileage run" in my immediate future. The question is where to, and when. Summer prices are absurd, there is a great art exhibit in London in November that I want to go to, but I want my 100% mileage bonus for that trip. So I'm planning. It might mean 2 quickies to Savannah, if DL matches AT sale fares, buying me 500mi in each direction. Any thoughts?

Round trip flights to BOS can often run around $150 since DL matches with AirTran, and earn 946 miles each way, which would get you over. 2.5 hours up, there's a kiosk right across from the gates DL typically uses for ATL flights to recheck-in, and you could concievably take the same exact plane right back to ATL without breaking a sweat. Would take no more than an afternoon of flying...pretty simply and straight forward.


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2049 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2960 times:

Quoting PITSpeedbird (Thread starter):
6) Are many of you "mileage-runners" business travelers? If so, do you not get enough miles from business travel?

I'm a frequent business traveler and I'm Star Alliance Gold (SQ KrisFlyer gold). I just requalified, and so I will need 50,000 miles by May 2008 to keep my Gold status for another year. I will be leaving Singapore by the end of the year, but I will be travelling back i '08. The way I calculated, I will earn another 50,000 before the end of the year, which will requalify me to May '09. However, I will be moving to a non-Star Alliance hub, and I will probably have to do one or two mileage runs if I want to keep my status until '10.

On the other hand, I am moving to a possible OW station (or maybe *A since SIA has expressed interest in MU), so I will probably renounce my *A Gold eventually and move on to another FF program.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-TLH-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
User currently offlineKlkla From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 933 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2932 times:

I did it a couple of years ago to maintain my 1K status with United. During the winter from October 15th to December 15th for a couple hundred dollars you can register to earn double elite miles.

I flew Los Angeles to Bangkok, stayed for the weekend and came right back. Normally that trip would earn almost 17,000 Elite Qualification Miles (EQM). But by buying the B fare which gives you 150% EQM and using the promotion I got almost 42,000 EQM on that one trip.

For me it is worth it because I fly international a lot. 1K members get six systemwide upgrades each year and those are worth potentially thousands of dollars. I have flown to London in business for $870 using system wides as an example and often to GRU, GIG and EZE in Business for fares in the $1100-$1500 range as a result of this benefit. Also, United will sometimes allow you to pay cash to upgrade to first at the gate. For South America this is about $500. So if you play your cards right you can travel first for less than $2500.


User currently offlineTVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2389 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2912 times:

My son went TPA>MSP>ANC and return over 21 hours last December to obtain NW Platnium Elite. $288 all in. Got into ANC and went back on the same 752 he arrived on. CSR questioned him on why he was getting off and then back on for the return flight. He said, "Two words: Mileage Run." The CSR laughed and shook his head. FC all the way as a Gold at that time.

User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12251 posts, RR: 35
Reply 20, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2873 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Too bad I live in NW land as there are rarely any good MRs out of MSP


911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12251 posts, RR: 35
Reply 21, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2865 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting Klkla (Reply 18):
I flew Los Angeles to Bangkok, stayed for the weekend and came right back.

Did this trip cause any suspicion in customs and passport control when you came back?



911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 42
Reply 22, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2826 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 21):
Did this trip cause any suspicion in customs and passport control when you came back?

I did 1night BKK-LAX-BKK, apart from the immigration guy having a hysterical laugh, it was all cool. Also did BKK-JNB-BKK and BKK-MEL-BKK sameplane turns.



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineCO7e7 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 2849 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2826 times:

How can i search for the cheapest flights out of CLE on CO?

Do i have to go to continental.com and search city by city and look for the cheapest?

If anyone knows any cool tricks to get this done quickly, please let me know.


User currently offlineJano From Slovakia, joined Jan 2004, 827 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2802 times:

Quoting CO7e7 (Reply 23):
How can i search for the cheapest flights out of CLE on CO?

http://dps1.travelocity.com/dreamMap.ctl?Service=TRAVELOCITY

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=372



The Widget Air Line :)
25 CO7e7 : Thanks a lot Jano.
26 Post contains images ClassicLover : I have done my first ones this year. Keeping my Gold status on Qantas. They decided to enforce the "fly 4 segments on Qantas every year" rule, so whe
27 Omoo : i hope to do one in the near future, anyone in ATL interested please contact me, maybe we will do the run together
28 GeorgiaAME : A few years ago, when Delta still had their weekend escape program, I took my 9 year old son to Rome for a day, specifically for ice cream at a wonde
29 Jetpixx : I did this at the end of 2005 to qualify for Silver Medallion status with Delta SkyMiles. I am by no means a business travel person, but I fly about 1
30 Post contains links Fbgdavidson : I haven't done mileage runs per se, but I've had days where I've flown and never gotten off the plane or left the airport property. Back in 2004 BA w
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